Henry VI





The Minority Council. The Judiciary.

London. The Duchy of Gascony.

Scotland. Foreign Relations.

French Prisoners.  

The Hanseatic League. The Flemings.

The Duke of Brittany. The King of Portugal.

Parliament and the Duke of Gloucester.

Gloucester and Jacqueline.

Jacqueline and the Duke of Burgundy.


The Earl of Warwick: Henry VI’s governor.

King Henry VI’s Household.

King Henry VI’s Court.

The Earl of Salisbury’s army.

The Siege of Orleans.

The Death of the Earl of Salisbury.

The Regent Bedford’s Administration in France.

Cardinal Beaufort’s Return to England.

Propaganda Against Heretics. Bibliography



1428 saw the expansion of King Henry’s household with Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, appointed as the king’s governor. 

A charter of the trading privileges for the Hanseatic League in England was reissued and the king’s special protection was extended to all Flemings living in England. A commission was named to go to Rome, and to visit the Emperor Sigismund on the way.

Parliament met and introduced a novel tax. The Earl of Salisbury’s army and his campaign to capture the city of Orleans.

The Siege of Orleans and Salisbury’s death. 1

The Regent Bedford’s administration in France. 

Cardinal Beaufort returned to England.  The Cardinal and Scotland.

A Propaganda campaign against heretics.


The Minority Council

The Proceedings for 1428 record seven council meetings in February and two in March while Parliament was in session. One in April, three in May, one in June, 8 in July, one in October and three in November.

Councillors attending in 1428: 

Duke of Gloucester. February, March, June, July

Archbishop Chichele. February, March, June, July

Archbishop Kemp, Chancellor. February, March, June

Duke of Norfolk.  May, June

 William Grey, Bishop of London. February, March, June, July

John Stafford, Bishop of Bath.  February, March, June, July

Philip Morgan, Bishop of Ely. February, March, June, July

Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, June, July

John, Earl of Huntingdon.  February, March, June, July

Humphrey, Earl of Stafford.  February, March

Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury. February, March, June.

Lord Cromwell. February, March, June, July

Lord Tiptoft. February, March, July

Lord Scrope. February, March, June, July

Louis Robessart, Lord Bourchier.  February, July

Lord Hungerford, Treasurer. February, March, June, July

William Alnwick, Keeper of the Privy Seal. February, March, June, July

No names are listed for the meetings in April, May, October and November.

Land Grants

The Council granted estates in the king’s hands while the heir was a minor, or because they had reverted to the crown on the death of the owner.

Estates of the Earl of March           

Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March died childless in Ireland in 1425. His heir was Richard, Duke of York, son of his sister Anne Mortimer.  Richard was still a minor in 1428 and custody of the Mortimer estates, with certain exceptions, had been granted to the Duke of Gloucester in 1425.

In November 1428 Gloucester surrendered his letters patent and received an amended grant, specifying the exceptions. He  was to pay £1,764 4s 6d annually to the crown out of the proceeds of the grant but was allowed £361 17s 8d for the wages of the estates’ officers. He would retain custody of them for the next three years, until the seventeen-year-old Duke of York came of age (1).

Also in November Sir John Pauncefot was allocated £200 for repairs to Gloucester Castle, the work to be supervised by the Prior of the Augustinian Priory of Llanthony Secunda near Gloucester. The Duke of Gloucester was constable of Gloucester castle (2).

The honour of Wyrmegey [Wormegay co. Norfolk] reverted to the crown after the death of Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter in 1426. Wyrmegey was committed to his executors, together some of the Earl of March’s estates to help pay Exeter’s debts. The executors drew £339 from the Mortimer estates (3).

In July the Council agreed that no further assignment should be made on these Mortimer estates until the executors had recovered the £600 they spent on the jewels sent to Pope Martin in accordance with a bequest in Exeter’s will (4).


(1) PPC III, p 313 (grant to Gloucester).

(2) PPC III, p. 318 (repair to Gloucester Castle).

(3) Harriss, Beaufort, pp. 162-163 (Exeter’s lands).

(4) PPC III, p. 311 (jewels to the pope).


John, Bastard of Clarence

In July 1428 the Council granted the manors of Esker, Newcastle-on-Lyons, Cromelyn and Tassagard in Ireland (valued at £140 a year) to John, Bastard of Clarence. They had been held by Janico Dartas, who was dead by November 1427 (1).

See Year 1426 Ireland for Dartas.

The Bastard of Clarence had fought alongside his father Thomas, Duke of Clarence at the Battle of Baugé in 1421 and the manors were granted to him as a reward for helping the Earl of Salisbury recover the Duke of Clarence’s body. John brought the body back to England for burial in Canterbury Cathedral. The Bastard of Clarence was a king’s knight but being illegitimate he had no inheritance from his father’s estates and was dependent on grants from the crown for his livelihood.

(1) Foedera X, p. 406 (grant to Bastard of Clarence).

Sir John Fastolf

Fastolf was Grand Master of Regent Bedford’s household in France, and so was rarely in England. He was granted a letter of protection for one year in October 1428 for his manor of Caister near Great Yarmouth (1).

(1) Foedera X, p. 408 (Fastolf).

Abingdon Abbey

The Council assented to the election of Ralph Hamme as Abbot of the Abbey of Abingdon in the diocese of the Bishop of Salisbury after he had been presented to the Council by the Prior, Thomas Durant (1). The Abbot of Oseney (Oxfordshire) was to take Hamme’s fealty. The temporalities were delivered to him in July 1428. Abingdon Abbey held lands in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Middlesex. Hamme remained Abbot until 1435 (2).


(1) PPC III, pp. 300-301 (Hamme, Abbot of Abingdon Abbey).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 489 (election of Hamme, restoration of temporalities).


A clock at Westminster

Agnes Dalavan widow of Geoffrey Dalavan petitioned the council for payment of 100 shillings (£5) for the repair of the clock at Westminster palace. She submitted an itemised list of the costs for materials and payments to Thomas Clockmaker. A schedule of payments is attached to the document (1).

The construction of the bell tower at Westminster palace was ordered by Edward III in 1365. It stood in New Palace Yard opposite the north door of Westminster Hall. A chiming clock, believed to be the first in England, was added to the tower in about 1387.

Described by John Stow as “a Tower of stone, containing a clocke which striketh euery houre on a great Bell to bee heard in the Hall in sitting time of the Courts, or otherwise” (2).


(1) PPC III, pp. 288–290 (repair of clock).

(2) Stow, Survey II pp 121-122 and Kingsford’s note pp. 379-380 (description of clock).



Customs Duties

In November 1428 the Council issued of an ordinance to the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer, to be confirmed by writ of the Chancellor, that a record in book form must be compiled and kept annually at the Exchequer of the names of all merchants entering or leaving the country, the quantity and value of the goods and merchandise they imported or exported in all the ports in England.

All exports must be recorded before the goods were shipped, and all imports before the merchandise was unloaded. Once the information had been entered in the book, no customs officer or anyone else could erase or alter the entry on pain of imprisonment or fine. All shipping activities must be undertaken in daylight hours (no smuggling at night!). The searchers were to be supplied with a copy of the customs declarations of the value of the goods, and of the names of the merchant shipping them. Every ship must be searched before being unloaded or allowed to leave port (1). 

One wonders why this was suddenly necessary. Customs accounts had been kept since the thirteenth century and the mechanism was well established. The major ports had a regular customs staff, collectors, controllers, searchers, trongers (weighers of goods) and clerks (2, for 3). Did the Council suspect that the crown was being defrauded, or were they so desperate money that they felt the need to tighten the regulations even further?

In December the collectors of customs at the ports of Dover and Sandwich were ordered to allow a papal envoy, James Chartanes, travelling with nine servants and ten horses, to embark without paying duty on the twenty-five goblets and twelve silver spoons he was taking out of England (4).


(1) PPC III, p. 315, (customs book).

(2) Brown, Governance of Late Medieval England, pp. 69-70 (customs staff).

(3) Postan, Medieval Trade and Finance, ‘English studies of the customs accounts,’ pp. 353-360.

(4) Foedera X, p. 409 (papal envoy).



The Judiciary

 Sir William Babington, a chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and Thomas Fulthorp, were appointed justices of assize in the counties of York, Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland, the city York, and the town of Newcastle-on-Tyne, replacing John Preston and Robert Tirwhit, who had died (1, 2).

Babington had been a Justice of the Peace for Norfolk since 1423; he was replaced by John Fray, third Baron of the Exchequer (3, 4).

Commissions of the Peace

In July the Council agreed that magnates named to commissions of the peace for the shires should not sit on routine court proceedings in counties where they held estates except in serious cases such as riots and invasions of property which required oyer and terminer commissions.

The king’s justice was supposed to be impartial, but the obligations of a lord to protect his tenants, clients, and retainers resulted in frequent and often irreconcilable conflicts of interest. Magnates were prone to put their local interests above those of royal justice in judicial decisions and the Council made periodic efforts, usually ineffectually, to curb partisan injustice.

 John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk protested, he preferred to have his name removed from the commissions of the peace rather than surrender his right to conduct local justice as he saw fit. Norfolk and the Earl of Huntington had been named as commissioners of the peace in Bedfordshire for 1426.  In 1428 the council ordered them not to sit on the assizes in Bedfordshire, effectively immediately. Similar writs were issued to all the justices of that county, and no other magnates were named as commissioners of the peace for Bedfordshire (5).  

Even the justices themselves doubted the efficacy of royal justice. One John Roger was accused of evading customs duties by shipping wool from the port of Melcome ‘which port was not included in the statute.’ The justices were summoned to the Star Chamber to pronounce on the question of whether the Council should fine the man there and then or whether the case should be referred to a jury. Their reply was that since the jurors would in all probability be bribed and corrupted, their advice was to impose a fine. John Roger was duly fined 200 marks (6).

(1) PPC III, p. 283 (Babington, Fulthorp and Fray).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 459 (Babington, Fulthorp and Fray).

(3) S. J. Payling, ‘Sir William Babington.’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

(4) C. Rawcliffe ‘John Fray,’ historyofparliamentonline.org

(5) PPC III, p. 302 (Norfolk and assizes in Bedfordshire).

(6) PPC III, p. 313 (John Roger fined).


Pilgrimage to the shrine of St James de Compostela in Galicia was an annual event.

St James is the patron saint of Spain. His feast day is July 25. Pilgrims have visited his shrine since the nineth century.

Lope de Mendoza, Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela created the first Jubilee Year for Saint James in 1428. He pronounced that if 25 July fell on a Sunday, as happened in 1428 and again in 1434, it was a Jubilees Year.  Plenary indulgences, the forgiveness for all sins, could be obtained in a Jubilee Year, which substantially increased the number of pilgrims.

The Council controlled the licencing of ships to carry pilgrims to the shrine and the numbers of pilgrims permitted to make the journey was strictly controlled.

At the end of January 1428 Thomas Buk of Dartmouth was licenced to convey sixty invalids and forty pilgrims to Spain in his ship the Thomas of Dartmouth. On 3 February William Pollard, master of the Marie of Plymouth was licenced convey 40 pilgrims and on 5 February John Philip, master of the ship the Holy Ghost of Weymouth was licenced to convey 122 pilgrims (1).

In April ten ships’ masters were licenced to convey pilgrims:

Robert Boner the Falcon of Yarmouth, 60 pilgrims.

Thomas Astley the Marie of Ipswich, 20 pilgrims.

Thomas Fish the St John of Bristol, 100 pilgrims.

Nicholas James and Simon Godeknape La Marie of Cley 140 pilgrims.

Hugo Deue and Robert Shadde, The George of London 140 pilgrims.

William Cotton, Jordan Sprynge and John Monk, La Marie of Bristol 100 pilgrims.

Three licences were issued in June and one in July:

Thomas Adam the Marie of Fowey, 50 pilgrims.

Richard Davy Le Marie of Exeter, 30 pilgrims.

John Stanbury La Trinite of Dartmouth, 50 pilgrims.

John Davy The Nicholas of Poole, 24 pilgrims.

(1) Foedera X, p. 386 (pilgrims).

(2) Foedera X, pp. 396-97 (April).

(3) Foedera X, p. 401 (June).

(4) Foedera X, p. 407 (July).


Bad Weather 

Most of the chronicles record an abnormally high rainfall in 1428. It rained nearly every day from April to October, ruining the crops and causing a rise in the price of grains. Disease spread among livestock, especially sheep, which reduced the wool clip, England’s most valuable export.

“This same year fro the begynneng of Aprill in to halowmas whas so grete habundance of reyne, wher thorow not oonly hey whas destroyid, but allso moche corne, ffor yt reyned almost euery day.”                     Cleopatra C IV (Chronicles of London) p. 131

“And þat yere hyt was a wete somer for hyt raynyd for the moste party from oure Lady Day in Lentyn unto the feste of Mychelmas nexte folowynge. And that yere there was a grete morayne of bestys and pryncypally of schyppe, for the more party of alle Inglonde, for sheppe deyde ynne every contray of Ingelonde.”       

                           Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 162

“And also in this same yere fro the begynnynge of the monythe of Appryell into the feste of All Haloue was so grete haboundance of Reyne where-thorough not only heigh was distroyid but also al maner of cornys for it reynyd almoste euyry othir day more or lesse, durynge the tyme aforesaid.” 

                        Brut Continuation D, p. 435 and Brut D Appendix, p. 442

A girdler of Norwich

The account of the girdle maker of Norwich who was hanged at Tyburn is unique to Brut D Appendix. According to the chronicle he counterfeited the king’s Great Seal and used it to authenticate false documents, for which he was condemned to death.  I have found no other reference to this.

“And in þis same yere, an old man, a girdeler of Norwiche which counterfetede the Kynges grete seale, And esealled charters & protections with þat counterfeit seal, in disseit & preiudice of þe Kynge & of his liege peple was iugede to þe deth, to be drawe thorugh the Citee of London vnto Tiborne, and þer hangede; & þus he died for his treason.”

                                                            Brut D Appendix, p. 442

Baynard’s Castle

A fire in the autumn of 1428 severely damaged Baynard’s Castle on the banks of Thames, just west of Paul’s Wharf near the Blackfriars. The Tudor antiquarian John Stow is the source for the subsequent rebuilding of Baynard’s Castle by the Duke of Gloucester (1, 2)

“Ande that same yere, the xxx day of October, there was a grette fyre at Baynardeys Castelle, the whyche fyre dyde moche harme.”         Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 163

(1) Stow, Survey I, pp. 65-66. 

(2) Vickers, Humphrey, pp. 445-46.

The fire is also noted in the Chronicle of the Grey Friars under Year 1429-1430.

London Bridge

John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk had a narrow escape on the evening of 8 November 1428, after dark, when the barge carrying him and his retinue from St Mary Overy attempted to shoot the rapids under London Bridge. Most of his company were drowned and the duke was forced to cling to the piles supporting the arches of the bridge until rescued (1). Harriss suggests that the duke was returning from Southwark after dining with Cardinal Beaufort (2).

The Thames at London Bridge was a dangerous place. Sir Thomas Rempston, father of the Thomas Rempston who fought in France, was drowned in 1406 when his boat capsized while attempting to pass under the bridge.

“Allso the same yere, the viij day of Novembre, the duke of Norfolk with many a gentylman, squyer and yeman, toke his barge att seynt Marye overeyes bitwene iiij and ffyve of the bell ayenst nyght, and purposid to passe thorow London Brygge where the forsayd barge thorow mysgovernance of steryng ffell upon the pilys and overwhelmyd, the wiche whas cause of spylleng of many a gentylman and  othere allso, the more Rewth whas;  but as god wolde, the duke hymself and two or thre othere gentylmen seyng that myschef  lepte upon the pilys and so were saved thorugh helpe of them that were abought the Brigge with castyng dovne of roapis.”           Cleopatra C IV, pp. 132-133  

“And in the vij yere of Kynge Henry the vje the viij day of Nouembre, the Duke of Norfolke with many gentil men of knyghtis and Squyeris and yemen token a barge at Seint Mari Ouereyis Brygge, bitwene iiij and v of the clokke ayens nyght; and they purposid tho to passe thorough London Brigge, where the foreseide barge, thorough mysgouernaunce of sterage fill vpon the pilis thorough mysgoueraunce and ouyrwelfid the whiche was cause of distruccion of moche pepull thereynne that was the more rowthe.  But as God wold, the Duke hymself and ij or iij othir gentil men, tho seyynge that myschief, lept vpon the pilis, and so thei wern sauyd thorough help of hem that weren aboute the brygge, wyth castynge doune of ropis, blessid be God.”        Brut Continuation D, pp. 435-436

(1) Chronicle of London (Harley 565), pp. 116–117. Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 163. Brut Continuation G, p. 500.

(2) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 179 (the Duke of Norfolk).

The Duchy of Gascony

The English Duchy of Gascony (frequently referred to as Aquitaine) was all that was left in English hands of the great Duchy of Aquitaine, part of the Angevin empire of King Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

A Council in Bordeaux, the capital of Gascony, ruled the duchy on behalf of the Minority Council, with an English seneschal and constable in command. In March 1428 the Minority Council referred two legal disputes in the Duchy of Gascony to royal officials in Bordeaux.

A commission of oyer and terminer was issued to Bernard de la Planche,  Bishop of Dax, Sir John Holland the Mayor of Bordeaux, and Master Pey Berland, a canon lawyer (later Archbishop of Bordeaux) to review and rescind if necessary, the judgement given by Bérart Johan the Prior of St James of Bordeaux, Sir William Crawford and Master William Hoper, Doctor of Laws, in a dispute between Sir Pons VIII Lord of Castillon and Gaston de Foix, Count of Longueville and Captal de Buch (1, 2).

Pons held lordships in the Médoc region on the banks of the Gironde estuary north of Bordeaux, but a part of this inheritance was claimed by Gaston de Foix. The original judgement had gone in favour of Pons, and Gaston appealed to King Henry – i.e. to the Minority Council. As Gaston was an ally of England, it appears that the Council hoped the verdict could be overturned. 

Gaston had entered King Henry V’s service in 1419, and Henry had bestowed the county of Longueville on him.  His elder brother, Jean, Count of Foix returned to his French allegiance in 1423 but Gaston remained an ally of England..

See Years 1423 and 1426, The Duchy of Gascony for Gaston de Foix.

The second dispute is more complicated. Guilhotin Andron, lord of Lansac had claimed the inheritance of the late Sir Amaniu Béguey by hereditary right. The Béguey lands had been taken into the king’s hands by Sir John Radcliffe as Seneschal of Gascony.

The Council issued a commission of oyer and terminer to the Abbot of Bournet, to Master Pey Berland, and to Master Pey du Bouscat, to review Guilhotin de Lansac’s claim (3, 4, 5). The case dragged on for ten years and was not resolved until 1437.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 389–390 (Pons VIII and Gaston de Foix).

(2) http://www.gasconrolls.org/edition/calendars/C61_123/document.html

(3) Foedera X, pp. 395–396 (Lansac and Béguey inheritance).

(4) http://www.gasconrolls.org/edition/calendars/C61_123/document.html [April 1428]

(5) http://www.gasconrolls.org/edition/calendars/C61_127/document.html [June 1437]



King James’s Ransom                           

King James I of Scotland had obtained his release in 1423, after eighteen years in captivity, by promising to pay a ransom of 60,000 marks or £40,000, over six years in annual instalments of 10,000 marks. He was required to send Scottish nobles to England as hostages that he would keep his word. James did not; by 1428 the hostages were still in England and only 9,500 marks of the ransom had been paid (1). 

The Council anticipated receiving 10,000 marks in 1428, just as they had in 1427, and once again they were disappointed. James needed all the money he could raise for his own purposes, and he cared nothing for the plight of his nobles languishing in English prisons (2).

See Years 1423 Scotland for the terms of the ransom and 1427 Scotland for non-payment of ransom.

In July 1428 Chancellor Kemp was instructed to prepare a receipt for the anticipated 10,000 marks. The Council allocated 7,000 marks to Richard Buckland the Treasurer of Calais, 2,000 marks to the Earl of Northumberland as Warden of the East March and Captain of Berwick, and 1,000 marks to John Skipton, clerk of the works  for repairs to Berwick’s castle and its walls (3, 4).  

The Council was concerned by the poor state of the defences to the great border castles at, Roxburgh and Carlisle as well as Berwick. John Skipton had received £200 in February for repairs (5).

The Council’s continued faith in King James’s promise is as remarkable as it is unfounded. On 10 July 1428, two days after assigning the anticipated 10,000 marks, the Council agreed that Richard Buckland should allocate 1,000 marks from the next instalment of the ransom for repairs to the gate at Newenham Bridge just outside Calais, and to the Rysbank Tower.  

Buckland was also to pay 4,000 marks to Sir John Radcliffe as wages for the 200 archers that Radcliffe would take to Gascony; indentures were to be made with Radcliffe for one year’s service: “nous fair service de guerre en [our] said duchie de guyen par un an” (6). 

King James managed two small payments of 500 marks and 1,000 marks (£1,000) at the end of 1428.  A receipt was issued under the Great Seal in December and the money was allocated to John Skipton for repairs to Berwick (7). 


(1) Harriss, Beaufort, pp. 180-181

(2) Balfour-Melville, James I, pp. 160-161.

(3) PPC III, pp. 302–303 (allocation of ransom).           

(4) Foedera X, p. 406 (allocation of ransom).

(5) PPC III, p. 287 (repairs to border castles).

(6) PPC III, pp. 303-304 (allocation of next instalment for Calais).

(7) Foedera X, p. 409 (1500 marks paid to Skipton).



Foreign Relations

French Prisoners

A safe conduct for Raoul de Gaucourt to return to England is misdated in the Foedera to June 1428 (1). It may belong in 1424 when Gaucourt was given permission to go to France to raise his ransom and to return by 1425.

See Year 1425: ‘John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon,’ for Gaucourt.

Or it may not belong to Henry VI’s reign at all. In June 1416 Gaucourt received a safe conduct from King Henry V to go to France as part of a peace initiative promoted by the Emperor Sigismund (2).

It was customary to release prisoners of war once payment of their ransoms had been guaranteed; Estouteville and Gaucourt probably left England in late1425. Sir John Cornwall would not have wanted to pay for their upkeep for any longer than was necessary.

Estouteville and Gaucourt’s servants received safe conducts in 1426, 1427 and 1428 to come to England bringing instalments of the ransom:   

In January 1426 John Chabanes, John Petit, and Heliot de Linaye brought gold, silver, and other goods Gaucourt’s ransom (3).

In May 1427 Helliot de Linaye and Colin Fleming, servants of Raoul Gaucourt and Jean d’Estouteville, brought gold, silver, jewels and other goods (4).

Three safe conducts were issued at the end of 1428 to the servants Raoul de Gaucourt, Jean d’Estouteville, and Charles d’Artois, Count of Eu who was still a prisoner in England (5). No reason for these safe conducts is given. Gaucourt and Estouteville’s servants may have been bringing the final instalment of Estouteville and Gaucourt’s ransoms. In 1428 Gaucourt was the war captain defending the city of Orleans against the Earl of Salisbury (6).

See The Earl of Salisbury’s Army, below.


(1) Foedera X, pp. 402-403 (Gaucourt’s safe conduct misdated to 1428).

(2) Sumption, Cursed Kings, p. 484 (Gaucourt in 1416).

(3) Foedera X p 350 (safe conducts 1426).

(4) Foedera X, p. 374 (safe conducts 1427).

            (5) Foedera X, p. 396 (three safe conducts 1428).

(6)  Barker, Conquest, p. 97 (Gaucourt and the city of Orleans).


Rome, Sigismund, and King Alfonso

William Grey, Bishop of London, John, Lord Scrope, and Master John Stokes were appointed as envoys to the papal court in July. They were to receive the same allowances as persons of similar rank had received on similar missions for six months (1, 2). Peter Pertrich, a Doctor of Theology, was included in the embassy, possibly only at the last minute since his name occurs in the Foedera but not in the Proceedings. (3).

The Council issued letters of protection for William Grey and John Stokes, and for those accompanying them, for nine months (4). Only John Stokes, who had been employed by King Henry V on diplomatic missions, was an experienced diplomat.

Lord Scrope was steward of the Duchy of Lancaster’s manor of Pickering  (5). He  petitioned the Council that during his absence his retainers at ‘Pekerynglegh’ (Pickering in Yorkshire) should be protected. They were not to be removed or molested in any way by Duchy of Lancaster officials without Council approval (6). 

On their way to Rome the envoys were to pay a visit to the Emperor Sigismund, and while in Rome they were to negotiate with King Alfonso V of Aragon’s ambassadors. There is no record of the outcome of this embassy, or if they met with Alfonso’s ambassadors in Rome (7).


(1) PPC III, pp. 300-301 (envoys to the papacy).

(2) Foedera X, p.  405 (envoys to the papacy).

(3) Foedera X, pp 407-408 (formal procuration to negotiate, with Peter Pertrich’s name included).

(4) PPC III, p. 311 (protection for Grey and Stokes).

(5) Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster, p. 533 (Scrope steward of Pickering).

(6) PPC III, p. 304 (Scrope’s petition).

(7) Ferguson, English Diplomacy, pp. 113 and 210-211 (powers to negotiate).


The Hanseatic League

The Hanseatic League was a consortium of German towns dominating trade with the Baltic. They maintained a permanent trading post in London at the Steelyard on the banks of the Thames.

The Hanse towns were important to English trade and over the years successive kings from Edward III on had granted the merchants of the Hanse unique trading privileges, and tax exemptions to facilitate England’s trade within the Baltic. King Richard II signed a charter confirming their rights in 1380, and, after lengthy negotiations between 1405 and 1409, King Henry IV renewed it by treaty.    

Englishmen trading with the Hanse towns enjoyed less favourable conditions, they were not permitted to establish staples (permanent trading posts) in major German towns such as Lubeck. and this disparity was fiercely resented (1). 

Henry IV’s charter of 1404 confirmed the Hanse’s trading privileges, and he included the concept of ‘reciprocity,’ the rights of English merchants to be granted similar privileges in the Hanse towns, specifically the right to form their own corporation of English merchants resident in and trading with German towns to be governed by their own rules and not subject to the municipalities in Germany (2) but these were largely ignored by the municipalities.

A petition from the Commons in 1428 attempted to limit the trading rights of all ‘aliens,’ not just Germans in England (3). The petition was rejected, but Henry IV’s charter was reissued. The entry in the Foedera is dated 21 June 1428 and is endorsed: the King and the Council in Parliament’ (4, 5) but Parliament was not in session in June 1428, and it is not on the rolls of Parliament for that year or for 1425 when Parliament was in session in June. 

Perhaps to ease the tension and avoid a physical clash between the Hanse and English merchants, in December 1428 Paul von Rusdorf,  Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, conceded the right for English merchants in Prussia to establish a corporation, elect a governor and impose its own rules on English merchants (6).


(1) Power & Postan, English Trade, pp. 98-100 (Hanse privileges. The treaty of 1409 is misdated to 1408).

(2) Given Wilson, Henry IV, pp. 336-337 (Henry IV’s charter).

(3) PROME XI, pp. 352-353 (petition against aliens).

(4) Foedera X, pp. 400-401 (Henry IV’s charter reissued).

(5) Ferguson, English Diplomacy,1422-1461, (1972), p. 90 (Henry IV’s charter re-issued).

(6) Postan, Medieval Trade, p. 259. (Von Rusdorf’s concession).


The Flemings


 Englishmen in general, and Londoners in particular, were xenophobic. They disliked foreigners whom they called ‘aliens’ and successive parliaments legislated to restrict   their residence and their trade in England.  Flemish merchants  were believed to be draining bullion out of the country even though they were required by law to spend half   their profits in England. The Flemings rivalled English merchants in the woollen cloth trade.   

A proclamation had been issued  in 1426 to protect the Flemings. It claimed that Flemish merchants were reluctant to come to England to do business for fear of reprisals, either personal assaults or unlawful seizure of their goods, but anti-Flemish sentiment remained strong.

See Year 1426 Bedford, Burgundy and Flanders for the protection of Flemish traders.

In July 1428, the Council issued a warrant under the Great Seal reiterating the proclamation of 1426, but with a time restriction to placate English merchants. For one year, until 29 September 1429, the Flemings would remain under the king’s special protection. They could import and sell their merchandise and purchase replacements freely, provided the subsidies on them were paid to the crown. No letters of marque would be issued against them during the specified period, so they need not fear seizures at sea.

These privileges would be extended to the people of Holland and Zeeland. Although they were not King Henry’s subjects, Holland and Zeeland had close dynastic and commercial ties with England. Two Counts of Holland, Albert I and William VI, had been Knights of the Garter. William VI was Jacqueline of Hainault’s father. (1, 2).

Letters of Marque

The undertaking not to issue letters of marque was an empty gesture. Letters of marque turned pirate ships into privateers sailing under the king’s authority to attack enemy shipping only, but were often used for reprisals: if an English ship was pirated, letters of marque allowed retaliation against ships of all offending nations, Flemish, Italian, Breton, German, or any other ‘ally.’

Piracy was practiced by all the sea faring nations of Western Europe and the English were among the worst, or best, at their trade. The dividing line between pirate and privateer (sailing under letters of marque) was so thin that English pirates ships, many of them owned by gentlemen or even nobles, rarely bothered to distinguish friend from foe. 

No matter how many edicts were promulgated, the dislike and distrust of ‘aliens’ among Englishmen, especially Londoners, never abated. The Commons would continue to complain about their presence and their privileges throughout Henry VI’s reign.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 403–405 (trading rights and protections).

(2) PPC III, pp. 304-309 (trading rights and protections).

NB: The warrants in the Foedera are dated 1 July and issued under the Privy Seal. The entry in the Proceedings dated 11 July is a copy, ordering the chancellor to confirm the warrants under the Great Seal.


A procuration in the Foedera supposedly issued in March 1428 for English envoys to treat with their Flemish counterparts is problematic. The heading is obviously a later addition: (3)

Instructio data, Venerabili Patri, R. Bangorensi Episcopo, necnon honorabilibus Viris, Magistro Nicholao Rysheton, Legum Doctori & Thomae Pitworth Militi Locumtenenti Capitanei Calesii, Nuciis & Ambassiatoribus Domini nostril Regis ad partes Picardiae, ad Conveniendum & Tractandum ibidem, cum Nunciis & Ambassiatoribus Patrium Flandriae, super Articu;is qui sequuntur

No Bishop of Bangor’s name begins with an R. after Richard Young , bishop from 1398 to 1404. John Clitheroe was Bishop of Bangor in 1428. The names of Nicholas Rysheton and Thomas Pitworth do not appear in the instructions and they are not in the list of envoys to Flanders in Ferguson’s English Diplomacy. I have found no other mention of them. The instructions are signed by Comite Somersetiae Camerario and an unnamed chancellor, treasurer and privy seal. Since the Earl of Somerset, a prisoner in France, could not have been present, this document is unlikely to date to 1428 and may not belong in King Henry VI’s reign.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 403–405 (trading rights and protections).

(2) PPC III, pp. 304-309 (trading rights and protections).

NB: The warrants in the Foedera are dated 1 July and issued under the Privy Seal. The entry in the Proceedings dated 11 July is a copy, ordering the chancellor to confirm the warrants under the Great Seal.

(3) Foedera X, pp. 390–391( envoys to treat with Flemings).

The Duke of Brittany

A visit to England by envoys from Brittany in 1428 is also problematic. A letter in the Proceedings headed ‘By the King’ and dated 11 July 1428 is in English. It directs the Privy Seal to instruct the Chancellor to issue safe conducts under the Great Seal for envoys from John, Duke of Brittany to come to England: Guillaume de Chauvin, Chancellor, and John de Quelever, Admiral of Brittany, the Abbot of Bégard, John Loisel, president of Brittany, Pierre Ferré, seneschal of Rennes, Olivier Dubriell, procurer general, Michel de Parthenay, and four others, accompanied by no more than forty servants, to cross to England and recross to Brittany in whatever ships they please, from 20 July 1428 to 15 April 1429 (1).

 It is a modern transcript not an original document and significantly there is no matching safe conduct in the Foedera. The dorso is incorrect, John Stafford was Bishop of Bath in 1428 but the Keeper of the Privy Seal was William Alnwick.  Jean de Malestroit was chancellor of Brittany in 1428; Guillaume de Chauvin did not become chancellor until 1459(2). 

(1) PPC III, p. 310 (Breton embassy).

(2) Jones, Creation of Brittany, pp. 153–154 (Breton chancellors’ dates).


The King of Portugal

Joâo I [John in English] became King of Portugal in 1385. He was the illegitimate son of King Pedro of Portugal, and when his half-brother King Ferdinand died in 1383 leaving a daughter Beatrice as his heir, Joâo of Avis as he was known, claimed the throne.  Beatrice was married to ing Juan II of Castile, and the Portuguese did not wish to become part of the larger kingdom.

In the war that followed English troops supplied by John of Gaunt supported Joâo while the French gave their support to Castile. In 1385 the Portuguese Cortes recognised Joâo as king after he defeated King Juan II of Castile. Joâo married Philippa of Lancaster in 1387. She was John of Gaunt’s daughter and King Henry IV’s sister.  Their union, ratified by the Treaty of Windsor, consolidated a diplomatic and trade alliance between England and Portugal that remained unbroken for centuries.

In March 1428  the Minority Council sent expensive gifts in King Henry’s name to King João and his heir Prince Durate, Prince Pedro of Portugal’s elder brother. Alfonso Fiennes, captain of La Margurete de Clarence sailed from London to Lisbon in company with other ships carrying silver plate, bales of valuable cloth, elaborate bed hangings and                   twenty-six horses (1).

The reason for the gifts is not given, but they may have been in anticipation of Prince Durate’s marriage to Eleanor of Aragon, the marriage took place in September 1428. 

                                       (1) Foedera X, pp. 391-392 (gifts to King of Portugal).

Parliament and the Duke of Gloucester 

Parliament convened on 13 October 1427. It was prorogued on 8 December to meet again on 27 January 1428 and was dissolved on 25 March 1428.  Most of the important business of parliament was conducted in 1428.

“And in the year 1427 the king held parliament at London after the Feast of All Saints; it was prorogued until after Christmas.”   Benet’s Chronicle, p. 181

“And that yere there was a Parlyment at Westemyster, and that beganne a Synt Edwardys day in Lent.”                                    Gregory’s Chronicle p. 162

Gregory’s Chronicle has the correct date for convening parliament, 13 October, St Edward the Confessor’s Day, but adds ‘in Lent.’ This is a reference to the second session, 18 March (in Lent) was St Edward, king and martyr’s day.

Towards the end of the first session of Parliament in December 1427, the Duke of Gloucester had appealed for clarification of his powers as Protector of England, claiming a diversity of opinion among the lords as to what the title entailed, and “wishing therefore for his power and authority in this regard to be made fully certain” and he offered to withdraw from the parliament chamber while the question was debated (1)

Gloucester had expected to become Regent of England after King Henry V’s death, but in 1422 the lords in council refused to recognise his claim. The Lords in Parliament made Gloucester Protector of England while his elder brother John, Duke of Bedford remained in France. Bedford would automatically become Protector when he returned to England. Gloucester had not enjoyed playing second fiddle the Duke of Bedford while Bedford was in England in 1426/1427 or of being forced to concede, temporarily as he saw it, supreme authority to the Minority Council.

See Year 1422 for Bedford and Gloucester as Protector. 

                                              See Year 1427 for Gloucester and Bedford.

Gloucester raised the question of his status and authority as Protector again in the second session of parliament and this time he went further. He declared that although matters of policy might be debated in the absence of the Protector nothing could be passed except in his presence and he would not sit in parliament until he received a satisfactory answer. 

Henry Chichele, the Archbishop of Canterbury, delivered the Lords’ reply on 3 March 1428. It was predictable to everyone except Gloucester: they rejected his argument outright. They reminded him that his claim to govern the realm as Regent by right of birth and kinship to the king had been rejected in 1422 and that he had accepted the terms under which he had become Protector. These could not be altered. Parliament had bestowed the title of Protector on him to acknowledge his birth and to distinguish him from the other members of the Council but he could not, as Protector, refuse to attend Parliament.

The Lords marveled  that he had even raised the question. The Duke of Bedford had agreed to leave the government in the Council’s hands, and the young king who may have been present, (he had opened Parliament in October 1427) was growing up and it would not be too many more years before England would no longer require a Protector (2).

Both archbishops, nine bishops, four abbots, twelve magnates and lords, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Huntingdon among them, signed the Lords’ declaration. Gloucester had no support in council at this time, and the claim of later historians, intent on establishing factions, that Salisbury and Huntingdon were in Gloucester’s camp, or of his faction, is unfounded.

(1) PROME X, pp. 347-349 (Gloucester’s role as Protector questioned and defined).

NB: There is no mention in the chronicles of Gloucester’s failed bid to achieve his ends.

(2) Watts, Henry VI and the Politics of Kingship, p. 117.


Gloucester and Jacqueline

Gloucester’s popularity in the Commons and in London had diminished, his treatment of his wife, Jacqueline of Hainault, was perceived as shameful in England.

Gloucester led a military expedition to Hainault in 1424 to recover Jacqueline’s patrimony. He styled himself Count of Hainault, but after only a few months of unsuccessful campaigning he abandoned Jacqueline and returned to England with his mistress, Eleanor Cobham, one of Jacqueline’s ladies.

See Year 1424 The Duke of Gloucester and Jacqueline of Hainault and Year 1425 Gloucester’s Return

The Recorder of the City of London, John Symond, as spokesman for the Mayor, John Gedney and the Common Council, to whom Jacqueline had appealed, took up the cudgels on her behalf. He presented a petition to parliament on 8 March. It referred to “the lamentable state to which the lady duchess of Gloucester, countess of Hainault had been brought” and prayed parliament to send her some assistance to which the Common Council was willing to contribute (1).

The Commons added a condition to their tax grant of 25 March that aid should be sent to Jacqueline: “Provided also that my lady of Gloucester. . . . who has written so sorrowfully to our sovereign lord and all the estates of this noble realm. . . be provided for. . . . (2).

“Also alwey forseen that the lady of Holand that liveth in grete Dolour and hevynes, And hath so lamentably writen to our seid souereigne lord and to al thastates of this noble Realme, be so purveied fore by wey of trete or in other wise by the high wisedome of our souereigne lord and by thabundaunt Discrecions of the lordes of his Counseile, that hir persone and alle the Alliaunce of olde tyme be put in fast and sekernes in singler conforting of the seid Comens, and thoo that thei ben comen fore.”    Chronicles of London (Julius B I) p. 288

Even more embarrassing for Gloucester was a letter to him in Parliament by a delegation of women accusing him of failing to take care of his wife and of “holding himself for another in adultery” and so bringing holy matrimony into disrepute (3).

Jacqueline had sent Sir Arnault of Ghent to England in 1427 to plead for assistance in her struggle against the Duke of Burgundy. In May 1428 the Council ordered the customs officials in the port of London to allow Arnault to embark for the Low Countries carrying a wardrobe of clothing and furs to the beleaguered duchess (4). One wonders if the Council or the Duke of Gloucester purchased them for her, or if the countess had supplied Arnault with the necessary funds.  

No assistance was sent to Jacqueline despite public sympathy. On 17 March 1428, while Parliament was still in session, the Council instructed the chancellor to cancel the two bonds given by the Duke of Gloucester for repayment of the 9,000 marks he had requested in June 1427 to aid Jacqueline. A memorandum confirming the cancellation was recorded on 17 May noting that Gloucester had not received the 9,000 marks (5, 6).   

See Year 1427: The Duke of Gloucester and Jacqueline of Hainault.

 A Short English Chronicle (p. 60) recounts the sorry ending to this sorry tale: Jacqueline surrendered to the Duke of Burgundy because she had no hope of help from England.

“understondynge that no remedy nor helpe was ordeyned for hir in Ingelonde, and also cosiderynge that the Duke of Glowcester hadde for sake hir and spowsed a noþer woman.”

The ‘other woman’ was Eleanor Cobham who had come home from Hainault with Gloucester as his mistress in 1425 and whom he married some time in 1428.

Pope Martin had declared Gloucester’s marriage to Jacqueline of Hainault to be invalid in January 1428. A statement by Gloucester, dated to 1428 by Stevenson in Letters and Papers, cannot belong to this year (7). Gloucester declared himself willing to accept the arbitration of the Duke of Bedford and Cardinal Beaufort in his quarrel with the Duke of Burgundy but as Vickers pointed out, Gloucester was not in Calais in 1428 where the memorandum was written.  And nor were the Duke of Bedford and Cardinal Beaufort. Vickers suggested 1433 as a more likely date. There was a meeting in Calais in that year when all three were present (8). 

See Year 1433 A Council in Calais


(1) Sharpe, Letter Book K, p. 68 (Mayor’s petition to parliament). 

(2) PROME X, p 331 (Commons provision for Jacqueline).

(3) PROME X, Appendix 1, p. 365.  (Women of London’s letter, translated by Curry from Annales Monasterii S. Albani  I, ed. H.T. Riley (1870) p. 20).

(4) Foedera X, p. 398 (clothing for Jacqueline).

(5) PPC III, p. 290-291 (authorisation for the refund of 9,000 marks, with a copy of Gloucester’s bond of 23 June 1427).

(6) PPC III, p. 296 (confirmation of the refund of 9,000 marks).

         (7) L&P, II, ii, pp. 417-418 (Gloucester’s statement misdated).

(8) Vickers, Humphrey, p. 236.


Jacqueline and the Duke of Burgundy

Jacqueline held out against overwhelming odds until at the beginning of July she was forced to surrender and to sign the Treaty of Delft with the Duke of Burgundy. He recognised Jacqueline as countess of Hainault, Holland and Zeeland, and in return she named him her heir. But Burgundian officials were immediately appointed to her governing council, and revenues from her patrimony were to be shared between her and Burgundy.

Jacqueline’s stormy life ended in obscurity. In 1429 she agreed to give up her claim to Holland in return for an annual pension of 24,000 crowns.  Burgundy leased the administration of Holland to three brothers, Frank, Philip and Floris, lords of Borselen. In 1432 Jacqueline married Frank in secret without Burgundy’s consent, which contravened the terms of the Treaty of Delft.

Burgundy was not slow to take advantage of her action. He had Frank de Borselen arrested and forced Jacqueline to abdicate. At a ceremony in the Hague, she formally recognized Burgundy as Count of Hainault, Holland Zeeland. Burgundy placed Holland under the control of Hugh de Lanny as receiver general. Jacqueline lived retired on her estates until her death in in 1436 (1). 

(1) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 47–50 (Treaty of Delft, Burgundy and Jacqueline).


Chancellor Kemp had appealed for a tax grant in his opening speech to Parliament in October 1427. On 25 March 1428, the Speaker announced that the Commons had voted a tax of 3 shillings on every tun of wine imported by English merchants for one year from 4 April 1428. Tunnage and poundage was renewed for the same period, but not back dated, although this grant had expired in November 1427. Any English merchant who evaded these subsidies faced a penalty of double what they should have paid.

 The Commons also granted a new and unusual two-part tax: a levy on parishes based on the value and location (urban or rural) of their churches and the size of the parish.

Only Chronicles of London (Julius B I, p. 288) has a complete account of the tax. The Great Chronicle (p. 151) documents the parish tax, but not the knights fee, or the condition imposed by the Commons that aid should be sent to Jacqueline, but both chronicles match the parliamentary rolls word for word.

Benet’s Chronicle (p. 181) says, “And the laity granted the king a tax of a tenth on their parishes, and the merchants granted the tax called ‘tunnage and poundage.’

Brut E and Brut E Appendix have a muddled, misdated, and fragmentary account, noting the sliding scale of the tax but substituting £20 for 20 shillings and £2 for 2 shillings. 

Brut E (p. 449) misdated to 1423-24, begins with a partial sentence concerning the payment of a parish tax: 

[     ] at xx li. þe parysshesens shuld pay xl s; And yf it were of more valewe, þen pay more.”     

“And after that was graunted bi the parliament, þat all the chirches of the ralme shulde be stent at a somme; and the Chirche were at xx li, the paresshens shulde paye xls; and iff it were of more valewe, than to paye more.                  Brut E Appendix, pp.  453–454

Every rural parish with ten or more householders whose church was valued at less than ten marks would pay 6s. 8d. Parishes with churches valued at more than 10 marks would pay a minimum of 13s 4d. Urban parishes whose churches were valued at 20 shillings or more would pay a minimum of two shillings, on an upward sliding scale. The Commons expected Convocation to match their generosity by imposing the standard tenth on the clergy. 

The second levy was on crown lands held as knights’ fees. Knights’ fees could be held by one man or divided between a number of men (or women); anyone holding a quarter or more of a knight’s fee was liable for a minimum of 6s 8d, on a rising scale. These taxes were to be collected remarkably quickly: the parish tax by the following May, and the knights’ fees by the end of June. This tax would not be popular, and the Commons protected their own: no member of parliament was to be named as a tax commissioner (1).

(1) PROME X, pp. 330-331.

 The Earl of Warwick: King Henry’s governor

King Henry would be seven years old at the end of 1428, the first step on the road to manhood. He had been without a governor since the death of Thomas Beaufort Duke of Exeter at the end of 1426 and the Council’s choice to replace Exeter fell on the forty-six- year-old Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick who was serving in France (1, 2).  The Earl of Warwick was the premier earl of England.                    

See Year 1425 for Warwick’s precedence dispute with John Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk.

Warwick had been a close friend and companion of Henry V and was considered the flower of chivalry: loyal, well educated, an excellent jouster, and an experienced war captain, although he had not, pace Shakespeare, fought at Agincourt. He was also a man of unquestioned orthodoxy; in his youth he had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His son Henry Beauchamp who became one of King Henry VI’s few close friends, was equally pius but less warlike.

The Duke of Gloucester, eight bishops and three lords signed the warrant to the Chancellor issued on 1 June 1428 in King Henry name appointing Warwick (3, 4). The consent of the Dukes of Bedford and of Gloucester was noted separately in the writ to the treasurer for Warwick’s salary, set at 250 marks annually (3).

“And anone aftir, as þe Erle of Warrewik, ser Thomas (sic) Beauchampe, was sennd oute of Fraunce from þe Duke of Bedforde by all the worthy & discrete counsaill of Englande, he was made maister & gouernoure vn-to the Kynge during his non-age, & hym to gouere n, teche & norish, as oweth to be done to such a worthy prince, to his lernyng of all maner worthynesse to good gouernance, discretion and reason.”                                                        Brut D Appendix, p 442

Warwick’s appointment is noted briefly in Benet’s Chronicle, (p. 181) and Gregory’s Chronicle, (p. 162).

Warwick duties were outlined in English: he was to teach the king “good manners, literature, language, nurture (moral training) and courtesy,” to love and fear God, and to be virtuous in all things as became “so great a Prince.” Disciplining a royal child was a touchy subject; Warwick had the authority to ‘reasonably chastise’ the king should the need arise (4).

King Henry was to reside at Wallingford and Hereford (sic for Hertford), Queen Katherine’s residences, in the summer and the castles of Windsor and Berkhamsted in the winter unless there was plague or pestilence in the area, when Warwick could remove him to a safer place as he saw fit (5).

(1) PPC III, pp. 296-298 (Warwick king’s governor).

(2) Foedera X p 399 (Warwick king’s governor).

(3) PPC III, pp. 298-299 (Warwick’s salary).

(4) PPC III, pp. 299-300 (teaching and chastising the king).

(5) PPC III, p. 295 (royal residences).

King Henry VI’s Household 

A household for King Henry, separate from that of his mother queen Katherine, had been established by the Council in 1423. A budget of 10,000 marks [£6,666 13s 4d] for household expenses was allocated in 1424.  In 1425 the Council ordered minors in the king’s ward to join the household as companions for the young king. As Henry grew so did the numbers employed in his household.

See Years 1423 and 1424 for King Henry’s household.

In March 1428 a letter in King Henry’s name ordered Richard, Duke of York to join the king by no later than 25 April in conformity with the Council ordinance of 1425 that minor heirs of magnates should reside in the king’s household.

See Year 1425 ‘King Henry’s Household’ for ordinance.

Richard of York was seventeen and the ward of his mother-in-law, Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland. As a direct descendant of King Edward III, York was the highest-ranking peer after the Duke of Gloucester. Had York been older he might have become the king’s governor instead of the Earl of Warwick.  A letter to the Countess of Westmorland informed her of the Council’s decision and requested her compliance (3).

In May four knights of the body, and four king’s esquires were ordered to join ‘the king’s master’ to enlarge the royal household: Sir William Phelip and Sir Ralph Rochefort had been Henry V’s knights of the body, Sir Walter Beauchamp and Sir William Porter were executors of Henry V’s will. The esquires,  John St Loo, John Chetwynd, Thomas Boulde, and William Fitzharry had all been esquires in Henry V’s household. ‘Each of them to have within his household one esquire and two valets (yeomen), provisions for their chambers, and a yearly fee of 100 marks and 50 marks respectively (4).

Master John Somerset had joined Henry’s household in 1427 as a physician. He remained in royal service of the next fifty years as physician and tutor to the king. He often pleaded poverty possibly because his fees were not always paid. In March 1428 he twice petitioned the Council for his annuity of £40 from the issues (crown income) of the City of London, and his clothing allowance of fur and linen as ‘other royal physicians have had yearly at the great wardrobe’ (1, 2). Somerset was a Londoner; he was not related to the Beauforts, although Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter was his patron and he witnessed Exeter’s will (3).

John Merston, keeper of the king’s jewels by 1427, did well out of the Council’s decision to confirm Henry V’s grants to his servants.  Merston was in receipt of a pension of 100 shillings as a king’s sergeant, and Henry V had also granted him £12 a year from the fee farm of the hundred of Dudeston, in Gloucestershire, payable by the Abbot of Gloucester. This was confirmed to Merston in May 1423 and again in July until he could be provided with a suitable office (4).

See Year 1423 King Henry V’s debts for John Merston.

He was transferred to Henry VI’s household to become keeper of the king’s jewels.

In February 1428 Merston petitioned the Council for an additional grant to cover the expenses of the king’s chamber during the New Year festivities which had exceeded the 200 marks allocated to him in February 1427 by £50 and 2 shillings, and that a further sum might be granted for expenses in 1428.

Also, that he might receive quittance for a gold ring set with a ruby which had been bestowed on King Henry by the Duke of Bedford.  On the advice of Lord Tiptoft, steward of the household, and Alice Botiller, who was obviously still a decision maker for the king, Henry had presented the ring to his mother Queen Katherine on Christmas Day (5). 

On the dorso of the petition authorizing a warrant to pay Merston there is a reference per cedulam hiis annex. This is the schedule of expenses printed in the Foedera. Nicolas considered some of the items ‘curious’ but is it exactly what the keeper of the jewels would have produced to account for his disbursements within the still relatively small household of the king.

The first two items note the amounts paid to the servants of Queen Katherine and the Duke of Gloucester for bringing New Years’ gifts to the king. It was customary to reward such messengers on a sliding scale, the highest payment being for the queen’s servant, 66s. 8d, with 40 shillings for Gloucester’s servant and so on down.

The rest of the schedule is also for customary payments and rewards  to members of Henry’s household, the ushers, yeomen, grooms and pages; to the heralds, minstrels and entertainers who were at court; the king’s alms and offerings, transport from Eltham to Hertford (where Henry spent Easter) for women servants and furnishings; livery collars for esquires attending Alice Botiller, the Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Ormond, and Lord Roos, and payments to craftsmen for refurbishing items in the great wardrobe (6).

Thomas Chaucer, chief butler for life from 1421, was responsible for ordering and accounting for wine supplied to the royal household. In February 1428 John Tiptoft, steward of the household, issued to writ under the privy seal to John Hotoft, treasurer of the household and keeper of the wardrobe, the large department that managed the costs of the household (not to be confused with the Great Wardrobe a smaller department concerned with the supply of clothing and furnishings) to make allowance to Chaucer in his accounts for the loss at sea (probably to piracy) of three shipments of wine between October 1426 and September 1427, one from France and two from Gascony:

One of three tuns from France to London via Le Mans and Rouen. One of just over four tuns coming from Gascony to London via Southampton and destined for the royal palaces of Woodstock and Wallingford. One of five tuns from Gascony destined for Windsor and Henley (7). A tun of wine equalled approximately 250 gallons (950 litres).


(1) PPC III, pp. 282 and 287 (Somerset’s petition).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p 460 (Grant to Somerset).

(3) Wylie & Waugh III, pp 432–433 (brief biography of Somerset).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 22, 93 and 110-111 (Henry V’s grants to Merston).

(5) PPC III, pp. 284-286 (Merton’s petition).

(6) Foedera X, pp. 387-388 (expenses schedule).

(7) PPC III, pp. 286-287 (wine lost at sea).


King Henry VI’s Court

Henry VI’s propensity for indiscriminate and embarrassing gift giving manifested itself at an early age. The court was at Eltham for Christmas/New Year festivities in 1427/1428.

[Latin] “And the king kept Christmas at Eltham and Easter at Hertford.”        Benet’s Chronicle, p. 181

During the festivities Henry snatched a gold collar from around the neck of the Earl of Oxford and bestowed it on a visiting Polish knight. The council had to ‘purchase’ it from the earl for twenty marks (1, 2). Was Sir James de Balalanex an envoy from Jagello V, King of Poland, or a knight errant, wandering the courts of Europe in search of employment or reward?

Henry was at Windsor in April for the celebration of St George’s Day and the Feast of the Garter in 1428. The Council paid 10 marks to a troupe of French actors and dancers who had been summoned to entertain the king and the court during the festivities. A reward of  200 crowns was distributed to the kings of arms and heralds who had attended the ceremony at Leicester in 1426 when King Henry was knighted by the Duke of Bedford (5, 6).

Pedro, Prince of Portugal and Duke of Coimbra, was installed as a Companion of the Order of the Garter in absentia. Pedro had been instrumental in averting an armed clash between the citizens of London and the retainers of Henry Beaufort in 1425.

See Year 1425: The Duke of Gloucester and Henry Beaufort

He had been nominated for the Garter in 1427 after the Duke of Exeter’s death at the end of 1426 left a stall vacant. Pedro’s inclusion in the Order owed more to his kinship with the House of Lancaster as a grandson of John of Gaunt than to his intervention in 1425. Pedro’s mother was John of Gaunt’s daughter Philippa of Lancaster, Queen of Portugal.

Lord Tiptoft stood proxy for Pedro and the Council authorized payment of his £10 installation fee (7). Gloucester Herald carried the Garter robes to Pedro in Portugal. (8, 9).


(1) PPC III, p. 282 (gold collar). 

(2) Foedera X, p .386 (gold collar).

(3) PPC III pp. 292-293 (Duke of York to join royal household).

(4) PPC III, p. 294 (knights to join household).

(5) PPC III, p. 294 (French actors kings of arms and heralds). 

(6) Foedera X, p. 398 (kings at arms and heralds).

(7) Issues of the Exchequer, pp. 404-405 (kings at arms, heralds, and Pedro’s installation fee).

(8) N.H. Nicolas, History of the Orders of Knighthood of the British Empire  . . . . vol I (1842) pp. 70-71 (Pedro as Knight of the Garter).

(9) Nicolas, p. 71 n. 3 citing Issue Roll 5 May 1427. (Gloucester Herald was paid for going and returning).


John Gedney, the Mayor of London, petitioned the king for permission to take six fat deer from the royal parks: two from Eltham and four from Windsor (1). Gedney was a member of the Draper’s Guild, he supplied cloth to the Great Wardrobe on credit, which may be why his request was granted. Gifts of venison were highly prized. Only Lord Tiptoft as steward of the household dissented, he may have feared setting an expensive precedent.

            (1) PPC III, p. 312 (Gedney venison).

The Earl of Salisbury’s Army

Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury came home in 1427 to recruit a large army for France; it took him almost a year.

See Year 1427: The Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Salisbury.

Parliament authorized the Council to solicit secured loans, up to £24,000, to meet his costs. (1, 2).

Brut E Appendix records that Parliament ‘loaned’ Salisbury 3,000 marks. 

“In his tyme there was a lone of iij þousand marke; And it was for the Erle of Salesbury for to meyntene the Kinges werres in Fraunce; And therto payed diuerse peple, aswell þe mene as the riche; som more, som lasse; but the leste was x s.”                               Brut E Appendix, p. 453

Salisbury’s Indenture

On 24 March 1428 Salisbury indented to muster six knights banneret and thirty-four bachelor knights, 600 men-at-arms and 1800 archers, to serve for six months from 30 June to 28 December. Salisbury’s wage was 6s 8d (a gold noble) a day. The knights banneret wage was 4 shillings and the knights bachelor 2 shillings a day. The men at arms 12 pence (1 shilling) a day and the archer 6 pence (3, 4).

A warrant to the Exchequer to pay Salisbury’s wages for the first quarter was issued on 25 March. His second quarter’s wage, set for 30 June was not paid until 19 July (5, 6). The details of the costs of his expedition were set out by his executors after his death and confirmed in Council under the privy seal on 16 April 1430. His receipts amounted to £16,571 13s. 4d and his expenditure to £16,468 6s. 8d (7, 8).

A clause in his indenture allowed Salisbury to substitute a proportion of archers for men at arms (much cheaper) and he mustered 450 men-at-arms and 2,250 archers. He was also permitted to substitute four masters of artillery for four men-at-arms and 10 mine layers for ten archers. Their pay was slightly higher, and the difference between 20p and 12p. for the artillery men, and 9d and 6d for the archers, to be met separately by the crown. Seventy or eighty craftsmen, carpenters, masons, and fletchers could also be substituted for the archers, although they were all expected to be proficient bowmen. 

John Parker of Cheshunt was allowed 1,000 marks to purchase artillery and ordnance for which he would account directly to the king. Salisbury was not to be held responsible for this expenditure (3, 4). In April Parker was commissioned to arrest carriages to transport the ordnance to Sandwich (5).

Of the (anticipated) profits of the expedition, the standard one third of all lands, goods or people captured would go to the king. Salisbury could ransom any prisoners for his own profit except those of French royal blood or high-ranking French war captains who were reserved to the crown.

On 21 June the London sheriffs were ordered to summon Salisbury’s retinue to assemble at Sandwich, on the following Friday 27 June, Sir Thomas Kyriell and Thomas Stockdale were authorized to take the musters. They were confirmed to the Council by Sir John Radcliffe and nine others (10).

“And in the vj yere of Kynge Henryis Regne the vie, went the Erle of Salusbury, with a grete retenewe of men of armys and archeris by comaundement of the Kynge and of alle the Counseile of Engelond & made hym Leftenaunt or alle the partyes of Fraunce and of Normandye, forto distroye the Kynges enemyes and to chastice the rebbellis in the pertyes by his strengthe myght and power.

And so he deperted and toke his leue oute of London with all his pepull and ordynauncis the morow aftur Mydsomyr day [22 June 1428] in the yere aboue seid and come ouyr the see with alle his pepull in saufte: thankid be God in all his yeftis!

and anon he was come into Fraunce he set sore on the Frensshe men that weren the kyngis Enemyes and slowe and destroyid many of hem, and took vilagis, Tounys and castelles and made hem be suoren to the Kynge of Engelond.”                                      Brut Continuation D, pp. 434–435

The heading in Brut D Appendix (p. 442) reads in part ‘and how dyuers sowdiourz went ouer the see,’ but there is no matching text. Possibly the account of Salisbury’s army, similar to that of Brut D, is missing.

Salisbury’s indenture has given rise to the misconception that Salisbury received special powers to campaign on his own and not under orders from the Regent Bedford. Salisbury indented with the king (as did other magnates when leading an army to France) because his campaign was financed by the English Exchequer on the authority of Parliament; but it did not  give him special status, and certainly did not permit him to out rank the Regent, the king’s lieutenant in France. The penultimate paragraph of the indenture states that Salisbury must make ‘watch and ward’ and take musters ‘when and as often as he shall be duly required to do so by the Regent.’


(1) PROME X, p. 329 (authority to raise loan).

(2) CPR 1422-29, pp. 480-83 (list of commissions to raise the loan).

(3) L&P I, pp. 404–414 (indenture terms).

(4) Foedera X, pp. 392-394 (indenture terms).

(5) Foedera X, p. 397 (artillery and ordnance).

(6) Foedera X, p. 394 (warrant for first quarter’s wages).

(7) L&P I, p. 418 (second quarters wages).

(8) L&P I, p. 403 (total expenses and receipts).

(9) L&P I, pp. 414–421 (details of receipts and expenses).

(10) Foedera X, pp. 401-402 (Salisbury’s musters).

NB: PPC III, p. 295. The entry in the Proceedings dated 10 May 1428 for Radcliffe to proceed to France is misdated. It belongs in 1429.


Salisbury’s Campaign Strategy

As Salisbury made ready to leave England the Duke of Bedford summoned the Grand Conseil to meet in Paris to await ‘the arrival of my lord the Earl of Salisbury and the army which should come presently from England to deliberate and conclude where they should be sent’ (1). 

It has been inferred from later evidence that Bedford had secured the Grand Conseil’s agreement for an attack on the Duchy of Anjou, specifically the great fortress town of Angers. According to Wavrin Salisbury’s arrival in Paris led to a change of plan and a decision to take the city of Orleans instead (1). There is no question that Salisbury arrived in France with this intention in mind. He had served Bedford loyally, but he did not doubt that he was the better soldier – and tactician.


(1) L&P II, pp.76–78 (Robert Jolivet, the Abbot of Mont Saint Michael acknowledged receipt of 336 livres tournois from Pierre Surreau, Receiver General of Normandy, for ten days (sic) for his journey from Rouen on 28 April to his return to Rouen from Paris on 17 June to attend the Great Council. 28 April to 17 June is rather more than ten days).

(2) Wavrin III, pp. 154–155 (assessment of Salisbury).


The Siege of Orleans

An advance on Orleans made sound strategic sense. It commanded the Loire valley north of the Dauphin’s capital at Bourges and was closer Paris. The army would have to cover approximately seventy-five miles, as against over one hundred miles to reach Angers.

But there was a moral or chivalric objection to attacking the city of Orleans and the surrounding countryside. The chivalric code forbade attacks on lands held by prisoners of war; this was not altruism, the lands of a prisoner generated the wherewithal to pay ransoms. 

Charles, Duke of Orleans had been a prisoner in England since the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. On 16 July 1428 the Earl of Suffolk representing the Regent Bedford signed a truce, an abstinence de guerre  with the Duke of Orleans’s half-brother, Jean, Bastard of Orleans, known to history as Dunois, although the title was not bestowed on him until 1439. This was not unusual, periodic short-term truces had been signed by Henry V and by the Regent Bedford with regional nobles, to avoid fighting in certain areas at certain times for political or economic reasons.  

Michael Jones dates this truce to July 1427, but Suffolk was with the Earl of Warwick besieging Montargis in 1427.  Dunois raised the siege in the following September.

A date of 1428, before Salisbury presented his plans to the Grand Conseil makes more sense. Bedford intended to invade the Duchy of Anjou. He did not want the resources of the Orleans lands under the command of Dunois, a commander of proven military abilities, to be thrown into the coming campaign on the side of the Dauphin. A safe conduct was issued on 6 April 1428 to the Duke of Orleans’s servants, and Dunois, to come to England (1). Orleans’s assent would have to be obtained before Dunois could open negotiations (1).

Jones’s lucid and enticing argument that had the abstinence been honoured in 1428 and Salisbury been forbidden to attack Orleans  the accord between Bedford and the imprisoned Duke of Orleans might have led to a coalition of French nobles accepting a comprise peace based on Treaty of Troyes making Henry VI King of France (2). But would it? An abstinence de guerre was a truce, not a peace treaty. Despite internal factions at the French court, there was no enthusiasm among the French nobility for an accommodation with the English. 

Henry V had forbidden Bedford, or the English Council, to release Orleans until Henry VI came of age.  Orleans’s influence at the French court, or even among the nobility, was negligible. As a prisoner of war he was in no position to promote the dual monarchy and Bedford would not have accepted peace on any other terms. Orleans’s belief that he could persuade the French nobles to follow his lead and recognise Henry VI was pure wishful thinking. Orleans and was out of touch with the mood of the country. When Henry VI was finally crowned king of France in Paris at the end of 1431, after a campaign of nearly two years just to get him there, the ceremony was boycotted by the entire French nobility, including England’s ally the Duke of Burgundy. Henry VI would never be recognised in France as King of France.   

See Year 1433: ‘Orleans’s Proposal’ for Orleans’s offer to recognise Henry VI in exchange for his freedom.

Salisbury marched southwest towards Chartres. He spent the month of August reducing towns and garrisons south of Chartres and in the region surrounding Orleans. On 5 September he reported triumphantly to the Mayor and Common Council of London that he had taken no less than thirty-eight towns and fortresses in his summer campaign (3).


“and anon he was come into Fraunce he set sore on the Frensshe men that weren the kyngis Enemyes and slowe and destroyid many of hem, and took vilagis, Tounys and castelles and made hem be suoren to the Kynge of Engelond.”   Brut Continuation D, pp. 434–435

By early October Salisbury was before Orleans itself. The city lies on the north bank of the River Loire and was a formidable obstacle. It was well fortified, well stocked, and well manned. Raoul de Gaucourt who had been a prisoner of war in England was in charge of its defence.


(1) Foedera X, p. 396 (safe conducts issued in April).

(2) M.K. Jones, ‘Gardez mon corps, sauvez ma terre – Immunity from War and the Lands of a Captive Knight: The Siege of Orleans (1428-29) Revisited,’ in M-J Arn, Charles d’Orléans in England (1415-1440), (2000), pp. 9–26.

(3) Sharpe, London III, pp. 340–41 (Salisbury’s letter).


The Estates of Normandy

Salisbury overturned Bedford’ plans as Bedford acknowledged in 1434, when he distanced himself from the decision to march on Orleans, claiming that it was not by his advice or agreement. But in 1428 he and Salisbury had every reason to believe that the French would offer little resistance (as was the case initially) and that Salisbury’s large army would occupy Orleans. From there Salisbury could move west along the Loire to Angers and complete the conquest of the County of Maine and the Duchy of Anjou. Bedford did not abandon the prospect of taking Angers he merely postponed it.

He attended a meeting of the Estates of Normandy on 8 September when Salisbury’s campaign looked like succeeding and requested an ‘aid’ of 200,000 livres tournois for an attack on Angers and for the recovery of Mont Saint Michel. The Estates reluctantly agreed to 180,000 livres tournois, and while expressing the hope that the full sum might not be needed. The sum of 140,000 livres tournois must be used to pay the wages of the Normandy garrisons and to keep the roads in good repair. The remaining 40,000 livres (if needed) 20,000 could be allocated to raise an army for four months to ‘recover’ Angers, and 20,000 to ‘recover’ Mont Saint Michel. Neither eventuated.

Herman Belknap, the Treasurer of Normandy and Pierre Surreau the Receiver General were ordered in King Henry’s name to collect the tax by 15 December 1428, but the church, the nobles, the aged, the infirm and the poverty stricken were exempted (1).

Louis le Clerc, sheriff of the Pays d’Auge an area between Caen and Rouen, with his clerk and six mounted archers escorted a consignment of 2,000 livres tournois from  Pont l’Evèque  to Rouen ‘for the safe conveyance of the said finance in consequence of the perils and dangers . . .. of robbers and thieves who watch the roads.’ Pierre Surreau, Receiver General of Normandy received the payment in January 1429 (2).


(1) L&P II, pp. 79–84 (Estates of Normandy grant).

(2) L&P I, p. 32 (2,000 livres tournois from Pont l’Evèque).


The Death of the Earl of Salisbury

The fortress tower of Les Tourelles on the south bank of the Loire guarded the main bridge leading to one of the city’s great gates. Salisbury captured Les Tourelles and made it his headquarters. On 12 October he laid siege to the city itself (1, 2, 3).

Salisbury was surveying the layout of Orleans from Les Tourelles when a stone cannon ball ricocheted off the window casing where he was standing and fragments of debris hit him in the face, wounding him so badly that he subsequently died. Benet’s Chronicle (p. 182) adds that one ‘J’ was also killed. He is identified by the Tudor historian Edward Hall, as Sir Thomas Gargrave who was standing directly behind the earl (4).

The Brut Continuation D is the only chronicle to accuse the unknown man who fired the shot at Salisbury of being a traitor. The chronicle implies that the siege lasted a long while under Salisbury, but it had barely begun when Salisbury was killed.

“And afterwurd he [the earl of Salisbury] leid sege to the toune of Orlyaunce and that sege endurid longe tyme for the toune of Orliaunce was so stronge and well ymannyd and vitailid, that it myght not be goten for no crafte of werre that was don therto; where[of] he was wond[er] heuy and wroth, for he might note spede of his purpos.

And tho at the laste as he was busi to sete and loke vpon his ordynauncis forto gete it yf he myght, a fals thef, a traitour withynne the toune shotte a Gonne and the stone smot this good Erle of Salusbury that he was dede thorough the stroke; wherefore was made grete doole and sorow for his dethe longe tyme afturward for the grete doughtynesse and manhode, that was founde in hym, and in his gouernaunce at all tymes. And thanne was his body brought ouyr the see into Engelond, and his body was caryid and leid amonge his aunseteris there as thei byn buryid of holde tyme: on whos soule oure God haue mercy! Amen!”                                                             Brut Continuation D, pp. 434-435

“Also this same yere the Erle of Salesbury was slayne atte the siege of Orliaunce. But [y]et was the siege holden by other lordes and continued but a litil while after.”

                                                                     The Great Chronicle (p. 151)

The date of Salisbury’s death varies in the sources.  A Chronicle of London (Harley 565, p. 116), Chronicles of London (Julius B II, p. 96) and (Cleopatra C IV p.132), deriving from the same source, give 3 November.  Gregory’s Chronicle (p. 163) has 30 October for his wounds and 2 November for his death. A scribal or copyist error occurs in the MS at this point: the sentence ‘And the xij evyn aftyr was i-broughte unto London, and hadde hys masse at Poulys, and hys bonys buryde at Birsham’ refers to Salisbury but it has been dropped down to follow the notice of the disinterment of John Wycliffe’s body. Salisbury was buried in the family vault at Bisham Priory in Berkshire.

Wavrin says he lingered for eight days. Wavrin had fought under Salisbury and describes him as “the most expert, clever and successful in arms of all the commanders who had been talked about during the last two hundred years.” Wavrin believed that had the earl lived another three months, he would have taken Orleans (5).

Brut G comes closest to a correct assessment:

“And sith forth þat he was slayn English men neuer gat ne preuailed in Fraunce bot euer after began to lefe bi litel and lytel til al was lost. And sith forth þat he was slayn English men neuer gat ne preuailed in Fraunce bot euer after began to lefe bi litel and lytel til al was lost.”                      Brut Continuation G, p 500

The entry in the Foedera dated to 1428 in which Bedford supposedly reported Salisbury death is obviously an extract from a longer document, Bedford’s statement to the Council in 1434 while Bedford was in England (6).

“And alle thing there prospered for you, til the tyme of the Siege of Orleans taken in hand, God knoweth by what Advis” ().

See Year 1434 The Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Gloucester.

If the Duke of Bedford opposed Salisbury’s campaign to take Orleans as most historians suggest, Salisbury’s death was surely the time for him to order the English army to fall back on Chartres or Paris, to be redeployed in support of his preference for an invasion of the Duchy of Anjou. This could have been accomplished easily in the last months of 1428 when French councils were divided and no French army was in the field. But Bedford did not withdraw his forces, instead he sent reinforcements under Lord Talbot and the veteran Lord Scales and ordered the siege to continue under the inept command of the Earl of Suffolk

Suffolk withdrew most of the army to the north bank of the Loire and fortified Saint Laurent and Saint Loup, leaving a small garrison on the south bank at Les Tourelles, but he was never able to surround a city the size of Orleans; he had too few troops to cover all points of entrance and exit. The siege stagnated and the story of the disaster that followed belongs in 1429.


(1) Ramsay, Lancaster and York I, pp. 382-383 (siege of Orleans).

(2) Burne, Agincourt War, pp. 230–231 (siege of Orleans).

(3) Barker, Conquest, pp. 98–100 (siege of Orleans).

(4) E. Hall, The Union of the two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster and York . . . (1548), ed. H. Ellis (1809), p. 145. (Thomas Gargrave).

(5) Wavrin III, pp. 158–159 (estimate of Salisbury).

(6) PPC IV, pp. 223-226.  (Bedford’s statement in 1434).

(7) Foedera X, p. 408 (Bedford’s communication misdated).


The Regent Bedford’s Administration in France

John, Duke of Bedford had been Regent of France since 1423, with his administration split between Paris and Normandy’s capital Rouen. Chronically short of money with an unreliable ally in the Duke of Burgundy and uncertain support from England, Bedford became increasingly hard pressed to maintain the dual monarchy.


The town of Argentan in northwestern Normandy had been in English hands since its capture by King Henry V in 1417’ It is a typical example of the threats, real and imagined,  increasingly faced by the undermanned and often ill provisioned garrisons in Normandy.

Probably in 1428 (the date is conjectural) the Council in Rouen received a warning that the inhabitants of Argentan (men and women) were preparing to betray the town to the Duke of Alençon.  

The Council in Rouen wrote to the (unnamed) lieutenant of the town ordering him to expel the ring leaders, to raise twenty men-at-arms and archers if needed for the town’s defence, and to buy in food. The Regent Bedford had been informed and Sir William Oldhall would bring a force to support the lieutenant.

The lieutenant of Argentan was promised that an ‘aid’ would be levied in the following December to meet these costs. In the event Argentan remained in English hands, so this may have been one of the many rumours and scaremongering circulating in Normandy at this time (2). Normandy remained in English hands for another twenty one years, until 1449/50, but its administration was never entirely secure.

(1) L&P II, ii, pp. 532–534; 534–536; 536–538; 538–540 (four accounts).

(2) L&P II, pp. 85–86 (Argentan).


William Worcester’s Collections

Four entries in ‘William Worcester’s Collections Respecting the Wars of the English in France and Normandy,’ printed by Stevenson in Letters and Papers record the income and expenses of Bedford’s administration for one year, from Michaelmas 1427 to Michaelmas 1428 (1).

The first is a record of the income from lands, towns, taxes, (the gabelle or salt tax yielded 1,500 francs), and other sources; the exercise of justice yielded 5,500 francs. A total of 29, 240 francs or 21,506 English marks.

The next is an estimate of the pensions paid by the Duke of Bedford, a total of 50,040 francs. The largest amount is to Bedford as Regent: 33,000 francs.

 Duke Philip of Burgundy received 4,000 francs and interestingly, Bedford was still maintaining the dowager Queen Isabelle of France: 12, 000 francs.

Payments to members of the Grand Conseil amounted to 20,520 francs.

 Payments to officers of the Parlement of Paris is not dated but is included with the other estimates: 79,410½ francs [£7,835 8s.]

The captains and officers of the garrisons of Lancastrian France, including Paris and Chartres received 175,000 francs [£19,440].  

Even with tax grants from the Estates of Normandy and taxes levied on the pays de conquête, Bedford could not maintain this level of expenditure without financial support from England.


Cardinal Beaufort’s Return to England

Cardinal Beaufort’s visit to Bohemia as papal legate in 1427 ended in failure and defeat. The apathy of the German Princes in the war against the heretics in Bohemia disgusted him.

See Year 1427 Cardinal Beaufort and Bohemia.

He left Germany early in 1428 and made his way to the Low Countries as the guest of the Duke of Burgundy.  He wrote to King Henry from Bruges  saying he wished to come home.  He was Bishop of Winchester, but as a papal legate Beaufort could not enter England without royal permission. On 30 April Garter King of Arms was sent to carry letters to the Cardinal ‘in France,’ presumably the Council’s response to Beaufort’s request. (2).

Beaufort entered London on 1 September 1428 in a blaze of splendour, arrayed in a magnificent red velvet cope with his legate’s cross, the symbol of his authority, carried before him. Two knights carried the cardinal’s hat, two esquires held the silver and enamel encrusted bridle of his horse (3).

The Mayor, John Gedney and city officials welcomed him and escorted him to St Pauls, but his return was not universally popular, and his ostentatious display was a mistake. Members the Minority Council were conspicuous by their absence; only Beaufort’s nephews, Edmund Beaufort, and Robert Neville, Bishop of Salisbury, who owed his bishopric to Beaufort, were on hand to welcome him.

The  chronicles record Beaufort’s return in detail. Brut Continuation E misdated it to 1423-24. 

“And in þe same yere, on Saynt Gylis day, come þe Cardinall, þe Bysshop of Wynchestre, to London; And þe maire and þe Shryves and þe Alderdirmen, with all the craftes of the cite ryddyn agaynst hym, and wurshypfully ressaued hym.  And Welecommed hym, and breght hym to Paules, And from Paules to Westmynstre; And per he a-bode all þat nyght.  And on þe morow toke hys hors and rode to Wyndysore vn-to our Kyng.                                                                    Brut Continuation E. pp. 449-450

“And in this same yere, the firste day of the monith of Septembre, Sir Henry Beauford, Bisshop of Wynchestre and bell vncle to the Kynge, come to London fro the Pope of Rome.  Cardynalles and alle the prestis and religious of London, and ney[ ] London, went ayens hym yn prosession withoute the Cite, and there they met with hym and did hym all the honour and reuerence as longith for siche estate to be don.  

And the Meyre and Aldremen, with many worthi craftis of London met with hym on the Blake-Hethe in Kent; and there thei welcomyd hym, and did hym reuerence and worship, and brought hym þorugh þe Cite, and so to Charinge Crosse and there the Meyre and the men of London toke her leue of hym, and he rode forthe to the castell of Wyndesore to the Kynge.”                    Brut Continuation D, p. 436

Only Benet’s Chronicle gives the reason for his return: to raise an army to fight heretics.

[Latin] “In 1428 about the nativity of the Virgin [8 September] Henry, cardinal bishop of Winchester, the king’s [great] uncle and godfather, returned to England. He had been given great powers by the pope to wage war against heretics in the kingdom of Bohemia, and he came back to England to raise an army for this purpose.”    Benet’s Chronicle, p. 181.

Chronicles: Great Chronicle, p. 151. Short English Chronicle, p. 60. Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 162. Brut Continuation H, p. 568.


(1) Holmes, ‘Cardinal Beaufort,’ pp. 727-28.  The letter is dated 9 March.

(2) PPC III, p. 294 (Garter carried letter to Henry Beaufort).

(3) Harriss, Beaufort, p.178 (Beaufort’s return).


  The Council and the Cardinal

Beaufort had spent the summer at the Burgundian court trying to drum up support for his crusade against the heretics in Bohemia with little success.  He returned to England to recruit an English army, but for this he would need the Council’s permission and support.

His reception by the Council was cautious. The Duke of Gloucester was not the only man to question where Beaufort’s primary loyalty lay now that the Pope had made him not only a cardinal but also a papal legate. Before they would agree to endorse Beaufort’s plans, the Council demanded his services nearer to home: he must deal with the problem of King James of Scotland.

James’s failure to pay his ransom was a sore point, but the fear that he was about to send a Scottish army to France to fight for the Dauphin Charles was more immediate concern. The Dauphin had sent an embassy headed by John Stewart of Darnley to King James in the spring of 1428 with an enticing offer to renew the ‘auld alliance’ of Scotland and France against England. It would be sealed by a marriage between James’s baby daughter Margaret, and Charles’s only son, Louis, who was five. Margaret would be sent to France immediately to be brought up at the French court until the children were old enough to marry and she would be accompanied by a Scottish army 6,000 strong A treaty, negotiated in July 1428, was confirmed in October (1, 2).

It has been inferred that the Council selected Beaufort to deal with James because he had arranged James’s marriage to his niece Joan Beaufort in 1424 as a guarantee of Scottish neutrality in the war in France.

See Year 1424 Scotland, for James’s marriage.

But who else was there? James would not conduct personal negotiations with anyone of inferior rank. Beaufort’s brothers were dead, and of the three royal dukes, Bedford was in France, Gloucester was unsuitable and would not have agreed to go, and the Duke of York was still a minor. That left Cardinal Beaufort as the only possible English representative. 

A safe conduct for James to come to Newcastle or Durham to meet Beaufort was issued on 1 December 1428, but James would not risk setting foot in England. The meeting must take place on Scottish soil, and he would be accompanied by 1,000 men (2). 

See Year 1429: King James and Cardinal Beaufort

(1) Beaucourt, Charles VI, vol II, pp. 396-398 (Franco-Scottish treaty).

(2) Foedera X, pp. 408-409 (King James to come to meeting).

Propaganda against heretics

Following the suppression of Sir John Oldcastle’s Lollard uprising in 1417 Lollardy became treason as well heresy and Lollards were persecuted throughout Henry V’s reign.

The persecution died down in London during the early years of Henry VI’s reign, but propaganda against heretics surfaced again in 1428 due in part to Cardinal Beaufort’s campaign in Bohemia. Beaufort’s letter to King Henry in March 1428  exhorted the seven-year-old king to beware of the spread of heresy and urged him to do all he could to extirpate it (1).  

Papal propaganda against heretics was designed to bolster Beaufort’s appeal for a crusade even before the Cardinal returned to London. Pope Martin issued instructions in December 1427 that the decree of the Council of Constance requiring John Wycliffe’s body to be burned must be carried out (2).

John Wycliffe was the founder of the Lollards whose doctrines had influenced John Hus in Bohemia. Wycliffe had been condemned by the Church Fathers as an arch-heretic. He died at the end of 1384 and was buried in his parish at Lutterworth in Leicestershire.

In 1428 Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, a protégée of the pope, in accordance with the pope’s instructions, had Wycliffe’s body disinterred, burned, and thrown into the River Swift, so that even his ashes would not survive.

“And that same yere the bonys of Mayster John Wykclyffe were take uppe and brentte at Lutterworthe in Laycetser schyre there that he was buryde.  And thys was done by the commaundement of þe pope and alle hys clargye.  And the xij evyn aftyr was i-broughte unto London, and hadde hys masse at Poulys, and hys bonys buryde at Birsham.” Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 163

Pope Martin sent his ambassador, Kunes of Zvolen, (in Hungary) to England to impress on the Council the threat posed by the pernicious heresies prevailing in Bohemia and to ask for a subsidy to raise an army to fight against them. The Council replied in May 1428 but how they responded is not recorded (3, 4).

According to Gregory’s Chronicle an indulgence for the remission of one hundred days in purgatory could be obtained by a procession to intercede for the success of a crusade against heretics. King Henry and his  mother, accompanied by various prelates and lay lords, went in procession to St Pauls in June.

“Ande that yere the Pope (This word is crossed through and “bishope” written over in a later hand) sende into Inglond, and in to alle Crystyn londys, a pardon ayenste the erytekys the whyche were in the londe of Hungery, yn the cytte of Prage; the whyche pardon was that me[n] shulde every Sonday in the begynnyng of every monythe shulde goo in processyon, whythe vij Psalmys and the Letany, and they shulde have a c dayes of pardon unto the same processyon.  The kyng and the quene, and alle othyr lordys spyrytualle & temporalle, wentt on processyon thoroughe London the ij day of June.”

                             Gregory’s Chronicle p. 162

“And in that yere was a generall procession, And a pardoner Riding vpon an horse, and his face to the horse taile, and his billes hanging a-bought hys necke by-hynde and bifore.  And whan he come to þe South dore of Poules, there was Made a grete fire, and all his billes were brent.”          Brut E Appendix, pp, 452–453

The reference to a pardoner and to indulgences in Brut E Appendix in Year 1424-25 probably belongs in 1428. It is the only chronicle to record the disgrace of a pardoner at St Paul’s Cross. Apparently, some of the pope’s ‘confessors’ were not well received in London. 

The three heretics mentioned but not named in Gregory’s Chronicle may be identified with the three men who were examined by Convocation in November 1428. Richard Monk and Thomas Garenter adjured their beliefs although Garenter was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. A third man, Ralph Mungyn was a more serious case. He had declared, among other things, that it was wrong to take up arms against the heretics in Bohemia. He refused to adjure and was imprisoned for life (5).

“And the secunde daye of Advente [29 November 1428] there were ij heretykes objuryd atte Poulys Crosse and the iij herytyke commyttyde  to preson, for he was convyete.”

                        Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 163


(1) Holmes, ‘Cardinal Beaufort,’ pp. 727-28 (Beaufort’s letter to King Henry). 

(2) Papal Letters VII, pp. 22-23 (Wycliffe’s body to be burned).

(3) Foedera X, p. 423 (Kunes of Zvolen, dated in Foedera to 1429 but the text reads anno sexto so it is 1428).

(4) PPC III, p. 294 (Council replied to Pope Martin).

(5) Thomson, Lollards, pp. 144-45 (three heretics).


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